EP2011223B1 - Absolute position determination of movably mounted member in medication delivery device - Google Patents

Absolute position determination of movably mounted member in medication delivery device Download PDF

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Publication number
EP2011223B1
EP2011223B1 EP07728025.3A EP07728025A EP2011223B1 EP 2011223 B1 EP2011223 B1 EP 2011223B1 EP 07728025 A EP07728025 A EP 07728025A EP 2011223 B1 EP2011223 B1 EP 2011223B1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
member
delivery device
medication delivery
contact members
electrodes
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Active
Application number
EP07728025.3A
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP2011223A1 (en
Inventor
Preben Nielsen
Bodo VON MÜNCHOW
Peter Grønning NIELSEN
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Novo Nordisk AS
Original Assignee
Novo Nordisk AS
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to EP06007633 priority Critical
Application filed by Novo Nordisk AS filed Critical Novo Nordisk AS
Priority to PCT/EP2007/053558 priority patent/WO2007116090A1/en
Priority to EP07728025.3A priority patent/EP2011223B1/en
Publication of EP2011223A1 publication Critical patent/EP2011223A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP2011223B1 publication Critical patent/EP2011223B1/en
Application status is Active legal-status Critical
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M5/00Devices for bringing media into the body in a subcutaneous, intra-vascular or intramuscular way; Accessories therefor, e.g. filling or cleaning devices, arm-rests
    • A61M5/178Syringes
    • A61M5/31Details
    • A61M5/315Pistons; Piston-rods; Guiding, blocking or restricting the movement of the rod or piston; Appliances on the rod for facilitating dosing ; Dosing mechanisms
    • A61M5/31525Dosing
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M5/00Devices for bringing media into the body in a subcutaneous, intra-vascular or intramuscular way; Accessories therefor, e.g. filling or cleaning devices, arm-rests
    • A61M5/178Syringes
    • A61M5/31Details
    • A61M5/315Pistons; Piston-rods; Guiding, blocking or restricting the movement of the rod or piston; Appliances on the rod for facilitating dosing ; Dosing mechanisms
    • A61M5/31533Dosing mechanisms, i.e. setting a dose
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01DMEASURING NOT SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR A SPECIFIC VARIABLE; ARRANGEMENTS FOR MEASURING TWO OR MORE VARIABLES NOT COVERED IN A SINGLE OTHER SUBCLASS; TARIFF METERING APPARATUS; MEASURING OR TESTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G01D5/00Mechanical means for transferring the output of a sensing member; Means for converting the output of a sensing member to another variable where the form or nature of the sensing member does not constrain the means for converting; Transducers not specially adapted for a specific variable
    • G01D5/12Mechanical means for transferring the output of a sensing member; Means for converting the output of a sensing member to another variable where the form or nature of the sensing member does not constrain the means for converting; Transducers not specially adapted for a specific variable using electric or magnetic means
    • G01D5/14Mechanical means for transferring the output of a sensing member; Means for converting the output of a sensing member to another variable where the form or nature of the sensing member does not constrain the means for converting; Transducers not specially adapted for a specific variable using electric or magnetic means influencing the magnitude of a current or voltage
    • G01D5/16Mechanical means for transferring the output of a sensing member; Means for converting the output of a sensing member to another variable where the form or nature of the sensing member does not constrain the means for converting; Transducers not specially adapted for a specific variable using electric or magnetic means influencing the magnitude of a current or voltage by varying resistance
    • G01D5/165Mechanical means for transferring the output of a sensing member; Means for converting the output of a sensing member to another variable where the form or nature of the sensing member does not constrain the means for converting; Transducers not specially adapted for a specific variable using electric or magnetic means influencing the magnitude of a current or voltage by varying resistance by relative movement of a point of contact or actuation and a resistive track
    • G01D5/1655Mechanical means for transferring the output of a sensing member; Means for converting the output of a sensing member to another variable where the form or nature of the sensing member does not constrain the means for converting; Transducers not specially adapted for a specific variable using electric or magnetic means influencing the magnitude of a current or voltage by varying resistance by relative movement of a point of contact or actuation and a resistive track more than one point of contact or actuation on one or more tracks
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/33Controlling, regulating or measuring
    • A61M2205/3317Electromagnetic, inductive or dielectric measuring means
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M5/00Devices for bringing media into the body in a subcutaneous, intra-vascular or intramuscular way; Accessories therefor, e.g. filling or cleaning devices, arm-rests
    • A61M5/178Syringes
    • A61M5/31Details
    • A61M5/315Pistons; Piston-rods; Guiding, blocking or restricting the movement of the rod or piston; Appliances on the rod for facilitating dosing ; Dosing mechanisms
    • A61M5/31533Dosing mechanisms, i.e. setting a dose
    • A61M5/31545Setting modes for dosing
    • A61M5/31548Mechanically operated dose setting member
    • A61M5/3155Mechanically operated dose setting member by rotational movement of dose setting member, e.g. during setting or filling of a syringe
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M5/00Devices for bringing media into the body in a subcutaneous, intra-vascular or intramuscular way; Accessories therefor, e.g. filling or cleaning devices, arm-rests
    • A61M5/178Syringes
    • A61M5/31Details
    • A61M5/315Pistons; Piston-rods; Guiding, blocking or restricting the movement of the rod or piston; Appliances on the rod for facilitating dosing ; Dosing mechanisms
    • A61M5/31533Dosing mechanisms, i.e. setting a dose
    • A61M5/31545Setting modes for dosing
    • A61M5/31548Mechanically operated dose setting member
    • A61M5/31556Accuracy improving means

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a method and a medication delivery device comprising an assembly for determining an absolute position of a movably mounted member in the medication delivery device. In particular, the present invention relates to a method and a medication delivery device comprising an assembly for determining an angular position of a rotatably mounted dose indication barrel in the medication delivery device. The assembly according to the present invention takes up a minimum amount of space.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • US 4,420,754 discloses a system for measuring the relative movement between two elements, such as the scale and slide of a hand-held measuring instrument. The system includes the provision of a number of groups of supply electrodes on the slide, each of the electrodes in each group being supplied from a respective one of a multiple number of output signals from a signal generator so that all of the supply electrodes are furnished with voltages according to a cyclic pattern, the slide also having at least one receiving electrode which feeds a signal processing unit. The scale is provided with an electronic pattern comprising internally galvanically connected parts, one being a detecting part, located close to the area where the supply electrodes of the slide are moved, the other of the two parts being a transferring part which is located close to the area where the receiving electrode of the slide is moved. The movement of the slide along the scale generates a signal from the receiving electrode which is derived from the signals from at least two adjacent supply electrodes and the position of the slide is determined by a signal processing unit which identifies the amplitude ratio of the received signals.
  • US 6,329,813 discloses an inductive absolute position sensor applying at least one magnetic field generator that generates a first changing magnetic flux in a first flux region. A plurality of coupling loops have a first plurality of coupling loop portions spaced at an interval related to a first wavelength along a measuring axis and a second plurality of coupling loop portions spaced at an interval related to a second wavelength along a measuring axis. One of the first plurality of coupling loop portions and the second plurality of coupling loop portions are inductively coupled to a first changing magnetic flux from a transmitter winding in a first flux region to generate a second changing magnetic flux outside the first flux region in the other of the first plurality of coupling loop portions and the second plurality of coupling loop portions. A magnetic flux sensor is positioned outside the first flux region and is responsive to the second changing magnetic flux to generate a position-dependent output signal. The output signal varies at the first or second wavelength of the corresponding other of the first plurality of coupling loop portions and the second plurality of coupling loop portions that generates the second changing magnetic flux.
  • The arrangements suggested in both US 4,420,754 and US 6,329,813 are adapted for determining linear translations between two objects.
  • US 2004/0207385 relates to a device for contact free detection of a position of a rotor relative to a stator, where at least one electrode is arranged on the rotor and at least one electrode is arranged on the stator. The electrodes overlap in at least one rotational position of the rotor relative to the stator. US 2004/0207385 further relates to a corresponding method for measuring the rotational position of a rotor relative to a stator. The rotational position is detected using a capacitive coupling between the rotor electrode and the stator electrode.
  • US 2004/0207385 relates to contact free determination of angular positions between two objects such as between a rotatably mounted rotor and a stationary stator. It is a disadvantage of the arrangement suggested in US 2004/0207385 that the emitters and receivers are position in a manner where they take up an unnecessary amount of space. For compact systems the solution suggested by US 2004/0207385 is not applicable.
  • WO 02/092153 relates to a medication injector apparatus with various arrangements for position determination. The arrangement depicted in Fig. 20 of WO 02/092153 is constituted by an electrically conducting matrix where six horizontally oriented rows are connected by vertically oriented matrix elements. The six horizontally oriented rows and the vertically oriented matrix elements constitute an integrated electrically conducting matrix.
  • US 5,986,585 relates to a device for converting mechanical deflections into corresponding electrical variables. Two pairs of contact terminals are moveably arranged relative to two groups of contact pads where driving signals are provided to one of said groups. One or more output signals are retrieved from one or more electrodes of the second group - said one or more output signals being indicative of the position of the contact terminals relative to the two groups of contact pads. The arrangement suggested in US 5,986,585 is not suitable for measuring angular positions between two elements.
  • It is an object of the present invention to provide a space saving arrangement for measuring absolute position of a first member, such as a dose indicator barrel, relative to a second member, such as a housing of a medication delivery device.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The above-mentioned object is complied with by providing, in a first aspect, a medication delivery device comprising a position determining assembly for determining absolute positions of a first member relative to a second member of the medication delivery device, the position determining assembly comprising:
    • a first group of electrically conducting electrodes interconnected through respective electronic devices each having a measurable electronic value, and a second group of electrically conducting electrodes being interconnected through respective electronic devices each having a measurable electronic value, wherein the first and second group of electrodes and the plurality of electronic devices are arranged on the first member,
    • first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4) arranged on the second member, wherein the first and second contact members (C1, C2) are adapted to slide across and establish galvanic electrical connections to respective ones of electrically conducting electrodes of the first group of electrodes and wherein the third and fourth contact members (C3, C4) are adapted to slide across and establish galvanic electrical connections to respective ones of electrically conducting electrodes of the second group of electrodes when the first member is moved relative the second member so that the first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4) connect to respective ones of said electronic devices as the first member is moved relative to the second member, and
    • an electronic control circuit electrically coupled to the first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4), the electronic control circuit being adapted to determine the measurable electronic value of respective electronic devices between the first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4), the electronic control circuit further being adapted to compare the determined measurable electronic values with a set of predetermined values to uniquely identify the position of the first member relative to the second member.
  • The first and second members may in principle be any members or parts of the medication delivery device. Thus, the first member may be a moveably mounted member, such as for example a rotatably mounted member, relative to the second member. The movably mounted member may be a dose indicator barrel being arranged to rotate during setting of a dose of medicament to be expelled from the medication delivery device. The dose indicator barrel may be arranged to perform a combined rotational and translational movement so that a point on the dose indicator barrel follows a substantially helical path during setting of a dose of medicament to be expelled from the medication delivery device.
  • The movably mounted member may also be a piston rod adapted to be displaced along an axial direction of the medication delivery device. This displacement may be provided by a translational movement of the piston rod, or a combined rotational/translational movement of the piston rod.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the present invention the first member forms part of the dose indicator barrel whereas the second member forms part of a housing of the medication delivery device.
  • The first and second electrically conducting electrodes may be metallic electrodes arranged on an outer surface part of the first member. However, other externally accessible surfaces are also applicable.
  • Said conducting electrodes are connected through respective electronic devices each having a measurable electronic value. Thus, between two given electrically conducting electrodes an electronic device having a measurable electronic value, such as a resistance, capacitance, inductance etc., is provided.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the present invention the assembly comprises four contact members arranged in a 2 x 2 matrix where two (first and second contact members) of the four contact members follow a first path or route across electrodes of the first group. The remaining two contact members (third and fourth contact members) follow a second path or route across electrodes of the second group. Thus, according to this preferred embodiment of the present invention pairs of contact members follow the same path or route on the first member.
  • The total number of contact members may be increased. Thus, pairs of contact members may follow three, four, five or even more different paths or routes on the first member. Also, the number of contact members following the same path or route may be increased from two.
  • The electrically conducting electrodes of each of the first and second groups of electrodes may be arranged in a periodic structure along a predetermined direction. This predetermined direction may be the direction along which the first and second members are moved relative to each other. The shape of the electrically conducting electrodes may also vary. Thus, a number of the electrically conducting electrodes may have a linear shape, whereas other electrically conducting electrodes may a more complicated structure, such as a structure having essentially orthogonal components. Such essentially orthogonal components may be arranged in the direction along which the first and second members are moved relative to each other and orthogonal thereto.
  • The first member may be adapted to perform a translational movement relative to the second member. Alternatively, the first member may be adapted to perform a rotational movement relative to the second member. Alternatively, the first member may be adapted to perform a combined rotational and translational movement relative to the second member.
  • The electronic devices connecting the electrically conducting electrodes may comprise a number of resistors. Alternatively or in addition, the electronic devices connecting the electrically conducting electrodes may comprise a number of capacitors. Alternatively or in addition the electronic devices connecting the electrically conducting electrodes may comprise a number of inductors.
  • The contact members may be mechanically biased towards the first member. In this way proper electrical connections are provided between the contact members and the electrically conducting electrodes arranged on the first member. Preferably, the contact members are arranged in a fixed relationship with a housing of the medication delivery device.
  • Preferably, the first member forms part of a rotatably mounted dose indicator barrel arranged within the housing of the medication delivery device.
  • In a second non-claimed aspect a method for determining absolute positions of a first member relative to a second member of a medication delivery device is disclosed. The method comprising the steps of
    • providing first and second electrically conducting electrodes arranged on the first member, wherein the first and second electrically conducting electrodes are electrically connected through an electronic device having a measurable electronic value, and wherein the first and second electrically conducting electrodes form part of a first group of electrodes,
    • providing first and second contact members being adapted to establish galvanic electrical connections to the first and second electrically conducting electrodes, said first and second contact members further being adapted to be slided across the first and second electrically conducting electrodes when the first member is moved relative to the second member, and
    • determining the measurable electronic value of the electronic device, and comparing the determined measurable electronic value with a set of predetermined values.
  • As previously mentioned, the first and second members may in principle be any members or parts of the medication delivery device. Thus, the first member may be a moveably mounted member, such as for example a rotatably mounted member, relative to the second member. The movably mounted member may be a dose indicator barrel being arranged to rotate during setting of a dose of medicament to be expelled from the medication delivery device. The dose indicator barrel may also be arranged to perform a combined rotational and translational movement so that a point on the dose indicator barrel follows a substantially helical path during setting of a dose of medicament to be expelled from the medication delivery device.
  • The movably mounted member may also be a piston rod adapted to be displaced along an axial direction of the medication delivery device. This displacement may be provided by a translational movement of the piston rod, or a combined rotational/translational movement of the piston rod.
  • In a preferred embodiment the first member forms part of the dose indicator barrel whereas the second member forms part of a housing of the medication delivery device. In this situation the first and second electrically conducting electrodes may be arranged on an outer surface part of the first member - here an outer surface of the dose indicator barrel.
  • The determining of the measurable electronic value and the comparison of the determined measurable electronic value with a set of predetermined values may be performed by an electronic control circuit integrated in the medication delivery device,
  • The method according to the second aspect may further comprise the steps of determining additional measurable electronic values of respective ones of additional electronic devices connecting additional electrically conducing electrodes of the first group, and comparing the determined additional measurable electronic values with the set of predetermined values. Thus, between two given electrically conducting electrodes an electronic device having a measurable electronic value, such as a resistance, capacitance, inductance etc., is provided.
  • The method may further comprise the step of providing third and fourth contact members being adapted to establish galvanic electrical connections to electrically conducting electrodes of a second group, said third and fourth contact
    members further being adapted to be slided across electrically conducting electrodes of the second group when the first member is moved relative to the second member. The method may further comprise the steps of determining measurable electronic values of respective ones of electronic devices connecting electrically conducing electrodes of the second group of electrodes, and comparing the determined measurable electronic values with a set of predetermined values.
  • The predetermined values may be arranged in a look-up table. The measured electronic value(s) may be compared to values in the look-up table in the following manner: Firstly, the first measured value is looked for in the look-up table. When a match has been found, a second measured value (measured at the same position) in looked for in the look-up table. This sequence of comparisons is continued until all measured values associated with a given position have been matched will values in the look-up table, or until the look-up table contains no further values to be compared with.
  • As stated above, a preferred embodiment relates to an assembly comprising four contact members arranged in a 2 x 2 matrix where two (first and second contact members) of the four contact members follow a first path or route across electrodes of the first group. The remaining two contact members (third and fourth contact members) follow a second path or route across electrodes of the second group. Thus, according to this preferred embodiment pairs of contact members follow the same path or route on the first member.
  • The determined measurable electronic values may comprise a resistance, a capacitance, an inductance or a combination thereof.
  • The first member may be adapted to perform a translational movement, a rotational movement or a combination thereof relative to the second member.
  • The contact members may be mechanically biased towards the first member. In this way proper electrical connections are provided between the contact members and the electrically conducting electrodes arranged on the first member. Preferably, the contact members are arranged in a fixed relationship with a housing of the medication delivery device.
  • Preferably, the first member forms part of a rotatably mounted dose indicator barrel arranged within the housing of the medication delivery device.
  • In a third non-claimed aspect a position determining assembly for determining absolute positions of a first member relative to a second member of the medication delivery device is disclosed, the position determining assembly comprising
    • first and second electrically conducting electrodes arranged on the first member, wherein the first and second electrically conducting electrodes are electrically connected through an electronic device having a measurable electronic value, and wherein the first and second electrically conducting electrodes form part of a first group of electrodes,
    • first and second contact members being adapted to establish galvanic electrical connections to the first and second electrically conducting electrodes, said first and second contact members further being adapted to be slided across the first and second electrically conducting electrodes when the first member is moved relative the second member, and
    • an electronic control circuit electrically coupled to the first and second contact members, the electronic control circuit being adapted to determine the measurable electronic value of the electronic device, the electronic control circuit further being adapted to compare a determined measurable electronic value with a set of predetermined values.
  • In terms of implementation the position determining assembly according to the third aspect may be configured along the lines suggested in connection with the first and second aspects.
  • Thus, the first group of electrodes may comprise additional electrically conducting electrodes being connected through respective electronic devices each having a measurable electronic value. Thus, between two given electrically conducting electrodes an electronic device having a measurable electronic value, such as a resistance, capacitance, inductance etc., is inserted.
  • In addition, the position determining assembly may further comprise a second group of electrically conducting electrodes being connected through respective electronic devices each having a measurable electronic value, such as a resistance, capacitance, inductance etc. Third and fourth contact members may be provided for establishing galvanic electrical connections to electrically conducting electrodes of the second group. These third and fourth contact members may be adapted to be slided across electrically conducting electrodes of the second group when the first member is moved relative to the second member.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the position determining assembly comprises four contact members arranged in a 2 x 2 matrix where two (first and second contact members) of the four contact members follow a first path or route across electrodes of the first group. The remaining two contact members (third and fourth contact members) follow a second path or route across electrodes of the second group. Thus, according to this preferred embodiment pairs of contact members follow the same path or route on the first member.
  • In a fourth non-claimed aspect, a medication delivery device for expelling set doses of medicament is disclosed, the medication delivery device comprising a position determining arrangement for detecting absolute positions of a movably mounted member arranged within the device relative to a housing of the medication delivery device, the position determining arrangement comprising
    • a plurality of electrically conducting electrodes arranged on an outer surface of the movably mounted member, said plurality of electrically conducting electrodes being inter-connected through a number of electronic devices, and
    • a plurality of contacts members fixedly arranged relative to the housing of the medication delivery device, each contact member being adapted to establish an electrical connection to the plurality of electrically conducting electrodes, each contact member further being adapted to be slided across the plurality of the electrically conducting electrodes while the movably mounted member is moved relative to the housing of the medication delivery device,
    wherein a first and a second contact member are arranged to follow a first path across the electrically conducting electrodes upon movement of the movably mounted member relative to the housing, and wherein a third and a fourth contact member are arranged to follow a second path across the electrically conducting electrodes upon movement of the movably mounted member relative to the housing.
  • The movably mounted member may in principle be any member within the medication delivery device. Thus, the movably mounted member may be a dose indicator barrel being arranged to rotate during setting of a dose of medicament to be expelled from the medication delivery device. The dose indicator barrel may also be arranged to perform a combined rotational and translational movement so that a point on the dose indicator barrel follows a substantially helical path during setting of a dose of medicament to be expelled from the medication delivery device.
  • The movably mounted member may also be a piston rod adapted to be displaced along an axial direction of the medication delivery device. This displacement may be provided by a translational movement of the piston rod, or a combined rotational/translational movement of the piston rod.
  • Thus, the movably mounted member may be adapted to perform a translational movement relative to the housing of the medication delivery device. Alternatively, the movably mounted member may be adapted to perform a rotational movement relative to the housing of the medication delivery device. Even further, the movably mounted member may be adapted to a combined rotational and translational movement relative to the housing of the medication delivery device.
  • The electronic devices inter-connecting the electrically conducting electrodes may comprise a number of resistors, a number of capacitors, a number of inductors or a combination thereof.
  • In a preferred embodiment the arrangement comprises four contact elements arranged in a 2 x 2 matrix where two of the four contact members follow a first path or route on the movably mounted member. The remaining two contact members follow a second path or route on the movably mounted member. Thus, according to this preferred embodiment pairs of contact members follow the same path or route on the movably mounted member.
  • The total number of contact members may be increased. Thus, pairs of contact members may follow three, four, five or even more different paths or routes on the movably mounted member. Also, the number of contact members following the same path or route may be increased from two.
  • In order to provide proper electrical contact to the plurality of electrodes arranged on a surface of the movably mounted member the plurality of contact members may advantageously be mechanically biased towards the movably mounted member. This mechanical biasing may be provided by various means, such as spring, resilient blades etc.
  • The medication delivery device according to the fourth aspect may further comprise an electronic control circuit electrically coupled to the plurality of contact members, the electronic control circuit being adapted to measure an electrical parameter between pairs contact members. The electrical parameter may be of resistive, capacitive or inductive nature.
  • In a fifth non-claimed aspect, a method is disclosed for determining absolute positions of a movably mounted member arranged within a medication delivery device relative to a housing of the medication delivery device, the method comprising the steps of
    • providing a plurality of electrically conducting electrodes on an outer surface of the movably mounted member, said plurality of electrically conducting electrodes being inter-connected through a number of electronic devices,
    • providing a plurality of contacts members fixedly arranged relative to the housing of the medication delivery device, each contact member being adapted to establish an electrical connection to the plurality of electrically conducting electrodes, each contact member further being adapted to be slided across the plurality of the electrically conducting electrodes while the movably mounted member is moved relative to the housing of the medication delivery device, wherein a first and a second contact member are arranged to follow a first path across the electrically conducting electrodes upon movement of the movably mounted member relative to the housing, and wherein a third and a fourth contact member are arranged to follow a second path across the electrically conducting electrodes upon movement of the movably mounted member relative to the housing, and
    • measuring a first electrical parameter between two contact members, said first electrical parameter being associated with a first electronic device.
  • The method may further comprise the steps of measuring second, third and fourth electrical parameters between pairs of contact members, said second, third and fourth electrical parameters being associated with second, third and fourth electronic devices, respectively. Thus, the electrical parameters may be of resistive, capacitive or inductive nature.
  • The method may further comprise the step of comparing the measured electrical parameter(s) with one or more predetermined values, said one or more predetermined values being arranged in a look-up table. The measured electrical parameter(s) may be compared to values in the look-up table in the following manner: Firstly, the first measured parameter is looked for in the look-up table. When a match has been found, a second measured parameter (measured at the same position) in looked for in the look-up table. This sequence of comparisons is continued until all measured parameters associated with a given position have been matched will values in the look-up table, or until the look-up table contains no further values to be compared with.
  • In a sixth non-claimed aspect, a position determining arrangement for detecting absolute positions of a movably mounted member arranged within a medication delivery device is disclosed, the absolute position of the movably mounted member being determined relative to a housing of the medication delivery device, the position determining arrangement comprising a plurality of contacts members fixedly arranged relative to the housing of the medication delivery device, wherein first and second contact members are arranged to follow a first path across electrically conducting electrodes arranged on the movably mounted member, and wherein third and fourth contact members are arranged to follow a second path across electrically conducting electrodes arranged on the movably mounted member.
  • In a preferred embodiment the arrangement comprises four contact members arranged in a 2 x 2 matrix where two of the four contact members follow a first path or route on the movably mounted member. The remaining two contact members follow a second path or route on the movably mounted member. Thus, according to this preferred embodiment pairs of contact members follow the same path or route on the movably mounted member.
  • The total number of contact members may be increased. Thus, pairs of contact members may follow three, four, five or even more different paths or routes on the movably mounted member. Also, the number of contact members following the same path or route may be increased from two.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The present invention will now be explained with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein
    • Fig. 1 shows a 3 and a 2 track design,
    • Fig. 2 shows the arrangement of four contacts according to the present invention,
    • Fig. 3 shows the positioning of the four contacts in a medication delivery device,
    • Fig. 4 shows 8-bit data for 61 positions, and
    • Fig. 5 shows block diagrams of sensing circuits.
  • While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • In its broadest aspect the present invention relates to a medication delivery device comprising an assembly or an arrangement for determining the absolute position of a first member, such as a rotatably mounted dose indicator barrel, relative to a second member, such as a housing of the medication delivery device.
  • The assembly/arrangement is implemented to take up minimum space within the medication delivery device. This may be achieved by having two pairs of electrical contact members arranged so that a first pair of contact members follow a first path across an exterior surface of for example a the dose indicator barrel when said barrel is rotated relative to the housing, and where a second pair of contact members follow a second, and different, path across an exterior surface of the dose indicator barrel when said barrel is rotated relative to the housing. Thus, since the four contacts are arranged in a 2 x 2 matrix-like configuration the physical extension of the arrangement according to the present invention is significantly smaller compared to prior art systems.
  • Referring now to Fig. 1 a possible solution according to the present invention is depicted - the direction of movement between the first and second members of the medication delivery device is indicated by the arrow. The arrangement shown in Fig. 1 relies on resistor encoding. However, capacitive or inductive encoding may be applied as well.
  • Fig. 1 shows an arrangement applying two paths 1, 2 - Fig. 1 is simplified in that no connections between the six bottom electrodes 3 are shown. Also, no connections between the ends of the six electrodes 4 (below path 1) are shown. The total number of metal electrodes is 12 and the number of resistors (not shown) is nine.
  • As mentioned above, the decoding relies on measuring the resistance between four individual contact members. The change in resistance originates from the four contact members being in electrical contact with the 12 metallic electrodes. The 12 metallic electrodes are interconnected with nine resistors having values that make them distinguishable from each other. The resistances of these nine resistors are in the range from 1kΩ to 33kΩ leading to current sources in the range 50µA and 200µA if voltages between 0 and 5V are applied. Referring now to Fig. 2, four contact points, C1, C2, C3 and C4, and the electrodes on the exterior surface of for example a dose indicator barrel are shown. Again the arrow indicates the direction of movement between contact members and electrodes. The vertical lines running through the contact points are separated by three unit steps. Thus, whenever a movement occurs exactly one contact is displaced from one metallic electrode to another. In Fig. 2 only the top row of contact points will move from one electrode to another electrode whereas the bottom row of contact points remains on the same metal electrode. However, as movement progress the bottom row of contact points will move to adjacent electrodes.
  • Fig. 3 shows a dose indicator barrel 5 positioned in the housing 6 of a medication delivery device. The four contact members (only two 11, 12 are visible in Fig. 3) are electrically accessible via terminals 7, 8, 9 and 10. Upon rotation of the dose indication barrel 5 within the housing 6 the dose indicator barrels will perform a combined rotational/translational movement relative to the housing 6. Thus, a point on the surface of the dose indicator barrel 5 will follow a substantially helical path during such a rotational/translational movement. The dose indicator barrel is allowed to rotate at least 720 degrees.
  • As four contact members are available, six individual measurements between contact members are possible. At intermediate positions between full unit steps precisely one contact member is isolated. This reduces the number of meaningful measurements to three. In the present scheme only full positions are unique (requiring only four measurements), whereas the half-positions are not all clearly distinguishable from each other.
  • Position determining measurements can be implemented in various ways, but one very simple method is the following: If the contact members are numbered C1 to C4 (see Fig. 2) four combinations of measurements are selected for each position, namely C4-C3, C1-C2, C3-C2 and C4-C1.
  • Fig. 4 shows the resulting 8-bit ADC readings based on the above-mentioned four measurements for positions 0 to 60 (here numbered 1 to 61). In order to link these four measurements to positions a look-up table (LUT) is used. The look-up procedure can be as follows: When the first measurement, for example C4-C3, has been performed, this measurement is used to find a position in the LUT having a similar first measurement. If it is found, the second measurement is compared to the LUT. If all four measurements match, the position is uniquely identified.
  • Due to mechanical tolerances a complete match between a measurement and a value in the look-up table may not be reached. Thus, a match may be considered reached when the difference between the measurement and the LUT-value falls within a predetermined range of values. This range can be ±1% of the full measurement range.
  • In order to guard against erroneous readings several additional checks can be implemented as well. For example, a new position is not acknowledged before it has been read at least twice. Many different look-up procedures may be considered. For example, the last found position may be used as a starting point when looking for the next position. If a half-unit step is detected several actions can be taken. One strategy could be that if the half-unit step can be identified as a neighbor to the last known full-unit step the position associated with this last known full-unit step is used.
  • Fig. 5a shows block diagrams of the electronic system. The test bench is the above-described circuit of sliding contact members across metallic electrodes arranged on the exterior surface of the dose indicator barrel. Each of the four contact members is connected by a wire to the electronic system. Each wire is connected to four identical input-output sensing circuits. One of these input-output sensing circuits is shown in greater detail in Fig. 5b. As seen in Fig. 5b each input-output sensing circuit is connected to a contact and provides an analog output signal. The circuit has two control inputs which control whether the contact is driven high, driven low or not driven. Even if both inputs are enabled no problematic short circuit occurs.
  • In normal operation two contacts are connected through their respective input-output sensing circuits - one contact is driven high whereas the other is driven low. The analog output voltage of the driven low contact will when equal: V OUT = 5 V I × R IO + R ENC
    Figure imgb0001
    where RIO and RENC are the resistances of the sensing resistor and the specific resistor between two electrodes, respectively. I is the current source of the sense circuit. As seen in Fig. 5a, the output voltages from the four sensing circuits are all fed to a 4-input Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC).
  • The assembly according to the present invention may alternatively be configured as a simple counter where one count corresponds to a displacement of one unit step as illustrated in Fig. 2. The widths of the vertically arranged electrode elements in Fig. 2 (parallel to the dashed lines illustrating a unit step) need to be reduced by a factor of around two in order for this to work properly. With such a width reduction contact points C1 and C2 move from one electrode to a neighbouring electrode at a displacement of one unit step. This configuration allows absolute position determination within one period of the upper electrode pattern of Fig. 2.

Claims (13)

  1. A medication delivery device comprising a position determining assembly for determining absolute positions of a first member (5) relative to a second member (6) of the medication delivery device, the position determining assembly comprising:
    - a first group (4) of electrically conducting electrodes interconnected through respective electronic devices each having a measurable electronic value, and a second group (3) of electrically conducting electrodes being interconnected through respective electronic devices each having a measurable electronic value, wherein the first (4) and second (3) group of electrodes and the plurality of electronic devices are arranged on the first member (5),
    - first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4) arranged on the second member (6), wherein the first and second contact members (C1, C2) are adapted to slide across and establish galvanic electrical connections to respective ones of electrically conducting electrodes of the first group of electrodes (4) and wherein the third and fourth contact members (C3, C4) are adapted to slide across and establish galvanic electrical connections to respective ones of electrically conducting electrodes of the second group of electrodes (3) when the first member (5) is moved relative the second member (6) so that the first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4) connect to respective ones of said electronic devices as the first member (5) is moved relative to the second member (6), and
    - an electronic control circuit electrically coupled to the first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4), the electronic control circuit being adapted to determine the measurable electronic value of respective electronic devices between the first, second, third and fourth contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4), the electronic control circuit further being adapted to compare the determined measurable electronic values with a set of predetermined values to uniquely identify the position of the first member (5) relative to the second member (6).
  2. A medication delivery device according to claim 1, wherein the first group of electrodes (4) are arranged on an outer surface part of the first member (5).
  3. A medication delivery device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the first member (5) forms part of a rotatably mounted dose indicator barrel arranged within a housing (6) of the medication delivery device.
  4. A medication delivery device according to any of claims 1-3, wherein the second member (6) forms part of a housing of a medication delivery device.
  5. A medication delivery device according to claim 4, wherein the electrically conducting electrodes of each of the first and second groups of electrodes (4, 3) are arranged in a periodic structure along a predetermined direction.
  6. A medication delivery device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first member (5) is adapted to perform a translational movement relative to the second member (6).
  7. A medication delivery device according to any of claims 1-5, wherein the first member (5) is adapted to perform a rotational movement relative to the second member (6).
  8. A medication delivery device according to any of claims 1-5, wherein the first member (5) is adapted to perform a combined rotational and translational movement relative to the second member (6).
  9. A medication delivery device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the electronic devices connecting the electrically conducting electrodes comprise a number of resistors.
  10. A medication delivery device according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the electronic devices connecting the electrically conducting electrodes comprise a number of capacitors.
  11. A medication delivery device according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the electronic devices connecting the electrically conducting electrodes comprise a number of inductors.
  12. A medication delivery device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4) are mechanically biased towards the first member (5).
  13. A medication delivery device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the contact members (C1, C2, C3, C4) are arranged in a fixed relationship with a housing (6) of the medication delivery device.
EP07728025.3A 2006-04-12 2007-04-12 Absolute position determination of movably mounted member in medication delivery device Active EP2011223B1 (en)

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